Global downturn sours radio giant

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Clear Channel Media Holdings, the world's largest radio broadcaster, said Monday that its first-quarter radio revenue dropped 22%.

The San Antonio operator blamed the drastic downturn on the condition of the global economy. It reported revenue of $603.6 million compared with $769.6 million during first- quarter 2008.

"While these results continue to reflect the difficult economic conditions prevalent globally, it's important to note that our properties performed relatively well and remain leaders in their industries," CFO Randall Mays wrote in a note to employees.

Mays and his older brother, CEO Mark Mays, have presided over the public-turned-private company that has had to pink-slip nearly 2,900 employees since Jan. 20.

Overall, Clear Channel said it had revenue of $1.2 billion in first-quarter 2009, a decrease of 23% from the $1.6 billion reported for the same period last year. The company reported its revenue included a $64.5 million decrease "due to movements in foreign exchange; strictly excluding the effects of these movements in foreign exchange, revenues would have declined 19%."

Jeffrey Yorke is Washington bureau chief and business editor of Radio & Records.
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